By DAVE MAPES
Shade advanced to a semifinal berth in the District 5 Class A boys quarterfinals on Wednesday with a 50-38 win over Rockwood.
“It was nice to get this one under our belt,” Shade coach Wade Fyock said.
The Panthers spotted Rockwood its only lead of the game a minute in on a Logan Svonavec basket before an eight-point run to force an early Rocket time out.
Shade went on to carry the opening quarter by a 13-4 margin, with Nash Walker scoring nine of his game-high 19 points.
Walker was healthy for the first time in the past four Panther contests, having missed three of them.
Walker’s presence was a calming effect for the Panthers, and provided assists to other players for easy looks at the hoop.
Shade outscored the Rockets 14-11 in the second quarter, despite going more than three minutes without a point for a 27-15 halftime lead.
When Shade created a 25-15 lead with 56 second left in the half, it gave the Panthers a double-digit lead, which they managed for the remainder of the game.
Shade’s largest lead was 18 points with 5:26 left in the game on a Corey Mains basket.
Rockwood had a 15-14 edge in first-half rebounds and had eight turnovers compared to 14 for Shade.
Both teams were patient throughout the game on offense against stubborn man-to-man defenses, but Shade had a distinct advantage at the foul line, shooting 12 of 22 to only 1 of 4 for the Rockets.
The difference ws most noticeable in the second half, when the Panthers netted nine free throw points while Rockwood did not attempt any.
They played to a 23-all draw in the second half. Shade had a 14-12 third-quarter margin and Rockwood outscored the Panthers 11-9 in the final frame.
Shade outrebounded Rockwood 14-8 in the second half.
Rockwood’s Ethan Keefer hit three 3-pointers in the second half from the left wing, accounting for nine of his team-high 13 points. Jeremy Pyles added 11 points for Shade and Avery Deskevich 10 for Rockwood to round out double-figure scorers.
Shade will play Berlin at Somerset on Friday night. Rockwood closes out the season with an 11-10 record.
The Rockets were playing without one of their starters, Brady Yachere, who had been in a traffic accident earlier in the day.